Was DAZZLING KILLMEN a hardcore band? A metal band? The world's gnarliest progressive-rock quartet? "Yes" is the easy answer, but only because it's easy to rewind through two decades of genre fragmentation to hear Dazzling Killmen's influence on any number of "math-metal," "prog-core" and similarly classified bands. At the time, however, this St. Louis quartet occupied a genre of one. When SKiN GRAFT released the Killmen's 1994 sophomore album, "Face of Collapse", that genre had its touchstone." - Excerpt from Aaron Burgess' liner notes Nick Sakes, Darin Gray and Blake Fleming formed Dazzling Killmen just outside of St. Louis, Missouri in 1990. The following year SKiN GRAFT Records made its debut with a 7" single and comic book set from the band. Shortly afterward, Tim Garrigan joined the group, and the quartet began writing and refining material for what would become the label's first, and the band's second and final full-length, "Face of Collapse". "As the songs progress, Dazzling Killmen bends the music just short of the breaking point, creating a frenzy that is always on the verge. They're not linear melodies that arrive predictably in their neat little spaces. Rather there is a center to each song and in this space the band attempts to reach it from different directions. A phrase appears for a moment then vanishes and orbits around the next phrase, hovering and waiting for its next approach. Sometimes this center is the magnet that holds the whole shebang together. At other times the center cannot hold and the space collapses. Its during these moments that Dazzling Killmen floor me." - Randall Roberts, LA Times (from the band's original presskit) Loud Life at Alternative Press magazine declared it the top album of the 90's based on the following criteria: 1) Avoidance of formula or cliché. 2) Dexterity of rhythm section, 3) Quality of album's production values, 4) Lack of predictable lyrical subjects - Satan, Straightedge, Viking folklore, etc. "Sounds like Dave Bruebeck's Time Out played through Carcass' PA system." "Face Of Collapse" was a key influence on Dillinger Escape Plan: "Most of the great progressive underground bands of the '90s would not exist if it weren't for them." - Ben Weinman Spin Magazine called Blake Fleming one of the 100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music; while Fact Magazine named the album one of the Best Post-Metal Records Ever. Guitarist / vocalist Nick Sakes went on to form Colossomite (with Ed and John of Deerhoof) and now performs in Xaddax. Blake founded Laddio Boloko and then The Mars Volta; while Tim Garrigan and Darin Gray formed You Fantastic! Darin is renowned for his work with Jim O'Rourke, including their bands Brise-Glace and Yona-Kit. Currently Darin performs with William Tyler and recently appeared on The Tonight Show in the band Tweedy, alongside Jeff of Wilco. Tim has started a new band, Skryptor, with David McClelland of Craw. Finally, Jeff Economy is directing a new music video in support of "Face Of Collapse". Jeffs video for Veruca Salt's "Seether" received MTV's highest degree of airplay and his work with Mudhoney is in the permanent collection of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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